LSU notebook: Players eager to play at home
Monday, September 19, 2005 - 5:45 p.m.
By Jim Kleinpeter
BATON ROUGE – LSU players will probably get as big a welcome from its fans as ever seen in Tiger Stadium on Saturday.
Because of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the season opener was postponed and the next game was relocated. Also mixed in was an open date, giving LSU only one game in the season's first three weeks.
This weekend, the No. 3 Tigers will be playing their first game at home against the No. 10 Vols.
LSU fans have been itching for their Death Valley atmosphere, and the players, who are tired of practicing, are ready to play wherever.
"It's rare for us to be preparing for a game at all, so it's a plus to be preparing for a home game," said LSU defensive tackle Kyle Williams. "It's exciting either way.
"We're going to get it from both (all) sides, our team, their team and our fans. It's going to be a great night to play football here."
"It means a lot," said center Rudy Niswanger. "You usually open up the season at home, but we didn't get that due to other circumstances. …We're ready to play in front of our fans in our stadium and our atmosphere. We can't wait for it."
ESPN is sending its "GameDay" crew to broadcast from Baton Rouge, and the network's morning show "Cold Pizza" also will broadcast live from LSU. Tigers coach Les Miles said he isn't worried about any added hype or distractions after the way his team has handled the past three weeks.
"I think we've handled a lot of outer stuff," he said. "I don't think that's going to be an issue. (We're) just being prepared to play and looking at our opponent.
PITTMAN OUT: Miles said defensive end Kirston Pittman, who prepped at East St. John, could be out for the season after a "procedure" was done on his injured foot. "We don't expect him back in the short term," Miles said. Pittman, a junior, will probably redshirt and have two years of eligibility remaining if he sits out the season.
NO TV: LSU's Oct. 1 game at Mississippi State will not be broadcast by network television, sports information director Michael Bonnette said Monday. Kickoff for the game has not been set.
FAVORITE SON: Miles said he invited a large contingent of friends and family to see his opening game in Tiger Stadium. Whether they come is up for grabs.
"They have not been able to get hotel rooms and my house is a big-sized house, but I can't get them all in there," he said. Miles said among those expected to be in attendance are his mother, Martha, and his old line coach (Elyria High School) John Sheldon, who lives in the Cleveland area.
RELIEF SHIRTS: The LSU Student Government Association will be selling gold T-shirts this week with proceeds going to the Hurricane Katrina Student Relief Fund. The shirts are $14 each. More information can be obtained online at
www.sg.lsu.edu or by calling 578-8727.